Monday, June 01, 2009

Historical fucktardery

Ignorant fucktard Jon Wagar of Valley City, N.D. writes, "[T]here are numerous writers/historians that have documented the existence of Jesus Christ [including] Josephus, Tacitus and Pliny the Younger... Even the Jewish Talmud talks about Jesus Christ."

Let's see what ten minutes on Wikipedia reveals.

The consensus is that Josephus' mention of Jesus is at least partly false. Even the partial authenticity is at least controversial, with the affirmative view a tiny minority.

Tacitus mentions Jesus c. 116 CE, and Pliny the Younger is c. 112 CE, so it unlikely at best that they document the fact of Jesus' existence, only of the subsequent popular belief. The existence of the Christian religion is not at all controversial. The Tosefta (c 200) and Babylonian Talmud (c 500) "rarely mention a 'Yeshu' and are, like Tacitus and Pliny, too late to be direct documentation.

The material underlying the Toledot Yeshu ("The Biography of Jesus") is difficult to trace, but is no earlier than the 2nd century CE, and "[s]cholarly consensus, according to van Voorst, dismisses it as a reliable source for the historical Jesus."

The fucktard goes on to assert, "In fact, there is more historical documentation of Jesus Christ than any other founder of any world religion, including Zoroaster, Buddha and Muhammad." The historicity of Muhammad — at least in the sense of the author of the Koran; somebody wrote it — is obvious, but comparing the historiocity of Jesus to that of Buddha and Zoroaster is hardly a compelling argument.

Seriously... can these fucktards do even the minimum necessary research before opening their fool mouths? (Apparently not.)

11 comments:

  1. I'm fascinated by apologetics, from a psychological perspective. These folks start with a conclusion, a conclusion they desperately want to be true, and then bob and weave and make the most egregious errors in critical thinking in an effort to defend it.

    Have you ever read apologetical literature? It's quite worse than you can imagine.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I've read a ton of apologetic literature. I've never come across any that wasn't either completely dishonest or totally vacuous.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Even Christian apologist F.F.Bruce says that at least some of the Josephus material is a later addition. Really, about all these historical references show is that the writers were aware of the proto-Christian sect, and their tales concerning the founder -- which is in no way documentation that Christ existed, as the person depicted by the Gospels. (I tend to think there was a historical individual at the core of the legends, but that most of the details we have are, well, legendary. But I don't personally have the expertise to argue the point either way).

    ReplyDelete
  4. Joseph Scaliger6/1/09, 10:53 AM

    I think the biggest obstacle to "Mythic/Nonexistent Jesus" theories is the trouble with inventing a coherent alternative theory which explains the initial dynamics of early Christianity. For example, what motivated Paul and Peter's (Cephas's) interactions? Whose creation was Jesus? Peter's? Why did he create that particular figure and what explains his placement in what was then recent history? A nonexistent Jesus, while it destroys Christian claims, actually raises more historical questions/problems. It seems that the most reasonable conclusion for an atheist to reach regarding Jesus is that he existed as, depending on your theory, either a wisdom teacher (a la Crossen) or a prophet of the Apocalypse (a la Ehrman).

    "I've read a ton of apologetic literature. I've never come across any that wasn't either completely dishonest or totally vacuous."

    Any authors which particularly stuck out?

    ReplyDelete
  5. Joseph Scaliger6/1/09, 11:00 AM

    "I'm fascinated by apologetics, from a psychological perspective. These folks start with a conclusion, a conclusion they desperately want to be true, and then bob and weave and make the most egregious errors in critical thinking in an effort to defend it."

    Well, Nietzsche argues in Beyond Good and Evil that all philosophers have approached their conclusions in such a manner. Although that seems rather extreme, there is certainly some truth to it. All thinkers, after all, have their starting points and premises. Everyone believes that their own opinions are true (otherwise they wouldn't have them as opinions), so, on matters relating to practical affairs, most thinkers could be accused of having a vested interest in their conclusions being correct. Just think about discussions about abortion or just war. Aquinas, in the beginning of his Summa Theologiae, has some interesting things to say about the role of reason in religious faith/argument.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Joseph: Earl Doherty's book The Jesus Puzzle is the best I know of from the pure mythicist position.

    Remember, when Jesoids talk about the historicity of Jesus, they're talking about the historiocity of the son of God, born of a virgin, who performed miracles, was crucified and rose from the dead.

    There may well have been a single ordinary person who started the Jesus cult or around whom it started, but that's a very different position.

    As far as shitty apologists, Josh McDowell, Lee Strobel, and C.S. Lewis spring immediately to mind.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Concerning apologetics literature, I recently read The Last Superstition, which purports to be a rigorous philosophical defense of theism. I found it moderately interesting, in the same way I find Spiderman comic books moderately interesting.

    ReplyDelete
  8. The historicity of Muhammad — at least in the sense of the author of the Koran; somebody wrote it — is obvious,

    I suspect the Koran, like pretty much every other holy book, was compiled from a bunch of pre-existing documents written by a large number of authors, and so there would have been no one person who could be identified as the author of the Koran.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Eric: You could well be right. According to Wikipedia, there is minimal independent attestation of Muhammad's actual existence.

    It's my vague impression — and I'm by no means even an amateur historian — that experts do consider an individual author to be the most likely source of the Koran. See Historicity of Muhammad.

    AFAIK (and again I am no expert), the Koran and hadith describe (prophecy excepted) events compatible with naturalism, with a minimum of "miracle" stories; miraculous powers do not — unlike Christianity — form a primary substantiation of Islam. This characteristic also makes more-or-less accurate historicity more plausible.

    ReplyDelete
  10. The Robot Girl6/4/09, 12:11 AM

    He died in Kashmir

    ReplyDelete
  11. The Robot Girl6/5/09, 10:37 PM

    I think we got to be very clear- cos when u see modern Muslim fundamentalists, ure seeing a very close representation of prophet- which is what being Sunnah is, or being Sahlafi, its closely modelling after both the prophet and the sahhaba. The fine tuned behaviour of Muslims alone is enough to prove Muhammad was not only real, but the best documented religious leader ever, but then, he was not just religious- but tribal, political and a military figure. To doubt this is like asking if Chinghiz, Jehangir, Akbar, Timur or anyone else was real. Like why? This doubt exists cos Muhammad is a religious figure. Part of understanding the whole thing- is to strip the religious stuff away, but what you get is no less real. I stood in front of his grave in the Rauda in Medina so many times. He's in there. He's real. Trust me.

    ReplyDelete

Please pick a handle or moniker for your comment. It's much easier to address someone by a name or pseudonym than simply "hey you". I have the option of requiring a "hard" identity, but I don't want to turn that on... yet.

With few exceptions, I will not respond or reply to anonymous comments, and I may delete them. I keep a copy of all comments; if you want the text of your comment to repost with something vaguely resembling an identity, email me.

No spam, pr0n, commercial advertising, insanity, lies, repetition or off-topic comments. Creationists, Global Warming deniers, anti-vaxers, Randians, and Libertarians are automatically presumed to be idiots; Christians and Muslims might get the benefit of the doubt, if I'm in a good mood.

See the Debate Flowchart for some basic rules.

Sourced factual corrections are always published and acknowledged.

I will respond or not respond to comments as the mood takes me. See my latest comment policy for details. I am not a pseudonomous-American: my real name is Larry.

Comments may be moderated from time to time. When I do moderate comments, anonymous comments are far more likely to be rejected.

I've already answered some typical comments.

I have jqMath enabled for the blog. If you have a dollar sign (\$) in your comment, put a \\ in front of it: \\\$, unless you want to include a formula in your comment.